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Part of: Crime and Disorder

Related to: Socio-economic Inequality, Education, Ill Health and Disability, Mental Health and Illness, Children and Young People, Ethnicity, Safeguarding Children and Young People, Alcohol, Adult Reoffending, Police Assessments, Domestic Abuse, Hate Crime and Hate Incidents, Homelessness, Night Time Economy, Not in Education, Employment or Training, Safeguarding Children and Young People, Substance Misuse

Key Facts

  • In the financial year 2012/13, Bath and North East Somerset spent £285 on Youth justice per 10,000 children aged under 18 years, very similar to the rates for the South West as a whole (£279) and England (£281).
  • In Bath and North East Somerset, for the rolling 12 month period of July 2013 – June 2014, there were 556 first time entrants per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds population, a higher rate than that of the South West (450) and England (426).
  • The rate of first time entrants in Bath and North East Somerset as with comparative areas is decreasing. There has been a 22.2% reduction compared to July 2011–June 2012, when the rate was 715.
  • 31% of offences of first time entrants in B&NES in 2013-14 were Possession of Drugs.
  • For the rolling quarter of April 2012 – March 2013 in B&NES there were 69 re-offences committed per 100 youth offenders after 12 months of receiving a Pre Court or Court Disposal, a lower rate than that of the South West and England.
  • For the rolling 12 month period of October 2012 – September 2013 in B&NES there were 0.13 custodial sentences passed by the Courts, per 1,000 young people in the general population aged 10-17. This rate is lower than the comparative rates for the South West and England.
  • Between April 2012 and March 2013, 33 youth offenders started on the Youth Offending Service prevention programme in B&NES
  • 48% of the public surveyed in England and Wales felt that ‘rehabilitation through help and support’ should be the main aim of the Youth Justice System, and 65% felt that the police and courts dealt with young offenders too leniently.


Youth Offending refers to the perpetration of crimes by young people aged between 10 and 17. 1 The current minimum age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is ten. No child under this age can be found guilty of a criminal offence. 2 Once a young person reaches the age of 18 they are considered an adult and so will be treated differently by the criminal justice system. The powers of the court and approach taken when sentencing youth offenders aged 10-17 are different to those for adult offenders in order to reflect the distinct needs of young people. Offenders aged 10-17 are usually dealt with and sentenced in the youth court except for cases involving very serious offences, such as murder, or where the young person will be tried alongside an adult which are dealt with and sentenced in the Crown Court. 3

The Youth Offending Service 4 5 in Bath and North East Somerset is a multi-agency team, managed within the Children’s Services Department of the Council, and includes staff from Health, Police, Probation, Education, Social Care and Connexions. The team has been fully operational since April 2000 and works with children and young people aged 10 – 17, and their parents/carers, to prevent youth offending. Services are also offered to victims.

Youth Offending Teams work in an integrated way alongside these other specialists and have key statutory functions, including:

  • supervision of young people on Court Orders
  • giving victims a voice
  • enabling young people who have offended to repay the harm they have caused
  • strengthening parenting skills.

The work of the two statutory teams is also supplemented by a prevention team which works on a voluntary basis with children aged 8-17 years who are at high risk of offending and with their families.

Together, the three teams form a Youth Offending Service, which is also responsible for safeguarding young people and supporting them to make more positive lifestyle choices.

Local responsibility for the Youth Offending Service rests with Bath and North East Somerset Chief Executive. Nationally, the work of the YOS is overseen by the Youth Justice Board, which, in turn, reports to the Home Secretary.

The Youth Offending Service takes most of its referrals from Police and the Courts, and provides the following services:

  • Compass Project for young people aged 8 - 17 at high risk of offending
  • Advice and support for young people involved in anti-social behaviour
  • Appropriate Adults
  • Bail Supervision and Support
  • Court Duty to Bath Youth Court
  • Court Reports
  • Supervision of young men and women subject to Reparation Orders, Referral Orders and Youth Rehabilitation Orders and a range of community Orders
  • Work with young men and women subject to custodial sentences, supervision and resettlement support when they return to live in the community
  • Intensive Supervision and Surveillance for young people who offend persistently
  • Work with parents/carers, including those subject to Parenting Orders (except those made via the Education Act)
  • Restorative Justice work, services to victims using restorative approaches

What does the data say?

England and Wales 6  7 

The number of young people in the Youth Justice System in England  continued to reduce in the financial year 2013/14. Reductions have been seen in the number entering the system for the first time as well as reductions in those receiving custodial sentences.

First Time Entrants - In the financial year 2013/14, there were 20,895 first time entrants (FTEs) to the Youth Justice System in England and Wales. Between July 2009/10 June and July 2013/14 June in England there were 59% fewer young people coming into the Youth Justice System, from 1,038 per 100,000 of the 10-17 population to 426 per 100,000 of the 10-17 population. 8

 

Arrests - In financial year 2011/12 there were 1,235,028 arrests for notifiable offences in England and Wales, of which 167,995 were of people aged 10-17 years. These 10-17 year olds accounted for 13.6% of all the arrests and 10.8 per cent of the population of England and Wales of offending age.

Proven offences - Overall there were 98,837 proven offences by young people in the financial year 2012/13, down by 28 % from 2011/12 and down by 63 % since 2002/03. The largest falls in proven offences between 2009/10 and 2012/13 were in: breach of a statutory order which fell by 61%, motoring offences by 60% and public order offences by 58%. The smallest reduction was in robbery offences which reduced by 32% between 2009/10 and 2012/13.

Reprimands, warnings or conditional cautions - There were 30,778 reprimands, warnings or conditional cautions given to young people in England and Wales in the financial year 2012/13. This was a decrease of 26% on the 41,343 given in the FY 2011/12, and a decrease of 64% on the 86,469 given in 2002/03.

Sentencing - In the FY 2012/13 there were 43,601 young people sentenced in England and Wales. The number of young people sentenced for immediate custody fell by 31 % from 4,024 in the FY 2011/12 to 2,780 in 2012/13. This number has fallen by 61 % since 2002/03, when there were 7,110 young people sentenced for immediate custody.

Penalty Notices for Disorder and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders - There were also 2,883 Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) given to 16-17 year olds in the FY 2012/13 and in 2012/13 there were 273 Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) given to young people. Between FY 2011/12 and 2012/13 the number of PNDs issued to young people decreased by 46% and the number of ASBOs issued decreased by 27%.

Custody - The population of young people (10-17 years) in custody in England in Apr - Sept 2014 was 1,057, and this was a 39% reduction compared to Apr - Sept 2012 (1,720). The rate of young people in custody in the Youth Justice System in England, reduced from 0.35 per 1,000 of the 10-17 population in Apr - Sept 2012 to 0.22 per 1,000 of the 10-17 population in Apr - Sept 2014. 9

Overall the average length of time spent in custody in England and Wales of young people increased by eight days to 85 days in 2012/13. For Detention and Training Orders (DTOs), it increased by eight days (from 107 to 115), for remands it increased by three days (from 42 to 45) and for longer sentences it decreased by 51 days (from 353 to 302).

Reoffending – The overall (binary) re-offending rate for young offenders in England was 36% in 2012 (Jan -Dec), with an average of 1.05 re-offences per offender in the cohort (frequency rate).  10

Bath and North East Somerset

Reported crime levels are low in Bath & North East Somerset. Overall levels of deprivation are well below the national average. However, there are pockets of deprivation within the district, and some groups of young people, including those at risk of offending and re-offending, do less well in relative and absolute terms. In particular, children and young people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are over-represented in the youth justice system, and in the Children in Need and Care systems. There is no predominant ethnic minority population in the area, but the number of children with dual heritage backgrounds is above average in the youth offending and Care populations, and young people with White European backgrounds have been over-represented in the custodial population. Also, offending rates by young people in Care in relation to their local peers have generally been above average. 11

According to the Department of Education in the financial year 2012/13, Bath and North East Somerset spent £285 on Youth justice per 10,000 children aged under 18 years. This was very similar to the rates for the South West as a whole (£279) and England (£281). 12

First time entrants 13 14

First time entrants are defined as young people aged 10-17 who receive their first formal outcome from the youth justice system, either a Police Reprimand or Final Warning, or a sentence in Court. Year on year reductions in first time entrants is one indication of how effective targeted crime prevention is, although there will be a variety of reasons for this. 15

According to the B&NES Youth Offending Team's records, the number and rate (per 100,000 of 10-17 population) of First Time Entrants in B&NES have decreased over the last three years: 16

2011 – 2012

  • Numbers - 122 First Time Entrants of which 29 (24%) were female and 93 (76%) male
  • All 10-17 year olds rate - 774 per 100,000 of 10-17 population
  • Male 10-17 year old rate - 1,163 per 100,000 of 10-17 male population
  • Female 10-17 year old rate - 373 per 100,000 of 10-17 female population

2012 – 2013

  • Numbers - 88 First Time Entrants of which 21 (24% were female and 67 (76%) male
  • All 10-17 year olds rate - 570 per 100,000 of 10-17 population
  • Male 10-17 year old rate - 852 per 100,000 of 10-17 male population
  • Female 10-17 year old rate - 277 per 100,000 of 10-17 female population

2013 – 2014
  • Numbers - 54 First Time Entrants of which 21(39%) were female and 33 (61%) male
  • All 10-17 year olds rate - 350 per 100,000 of 10-17 population
  • Male 10-17 year old rate - 420 per 100,000 of 10-17 male population
  • Female 10-17 year old rate - 277 per 100,000 of 10-17 female population

Throughout the three years the proportion of male First Time Entrants (FTE) has been much higher than female FTE, but in the most recent year 2013-14 the gap has narrowed.

Though Bath and North East Somerset did not go over the local target of a maximum of 900 first time entrants per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds in the local general population in the rolling year Jul 2013 –June 2014, the rate of was still higher than most comparators.

In Bath and North East Somerset, for the rolling 12 month period of July 2013 – June 2014, there were 556 first time entrants per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds in the local general population. This rate is higher than the comparative rates for the South West, with 450, and England with 426.

 

Figure 1: Rates of first time entrants to the Youth Offending Services per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds in the general population (Rolling 12 month period of July 2013-June 2014) 17

The rate of first time entrants in Bath and North East Somerset as with comparative areas is decreasing. There has been a 22.2% decline in the rate of first time entrants per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds in the local general population in Bath and North East Somerset since July 2011 –June 2012, when the rate was 715.

Figure 2: Rates of first time entrants to the Youth Offending Services per 100,000 of 10-17 year olds in the general population in B&NES, South West and England - trend over time 2009 - 2014 (Rolling 12 month period to end of June) 18

The vast majority of first time entrants in the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset are male, 71.5% in (April) 2010- (Sep) 2011.

 

Figure 3: Gender of first time entrants in the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset (2007-2014) 19 20

In both years there was a much higher proportion of older first time entrants in B&NES (15 -17 years) than younger first time entrants (11-14 years), 73% were 15-17 years in 2012-13 and 78% in 2013-14. In 2012-13 the greatest proportion of first time entrants were aged 15, (26%), and in 2013-14 the greatest proportion were aged 17 (31%).  The smallest proportions in both years were those of the youngest ages, 11 (3%, 2%) and 12 (1% and 2%).21


Figure 4: Age of first time entrants in the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset (2012-13 and 2013-14) 22

By comparison with the wider population, there has been a disproportionately high number of Black and Minority Ethnic young people coming into the youth justice system for the first time. The main minority group is dual heritage (6.8% in 2006 - 2007 and 4.1% in 2007 - 2008). However, it is important to note that the numbers are very small. 23

ethnicity_of_first_time_entrants_-_2007-11

Figure 5: Ethnicity of first time entrants to the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset (2007-2011) 24

In both 2012-13 and 2013-14, just over half (52%) of first time entrants in the Youth Offending Service in Bath and North East Somerset were young people categorised as Children in Need *. 25

* A child in need is one who has been referred to children's social care services, and who has been assessed, usually through an initial assessment, to be in need of social care services. 26

The three main types of offences of first time entrants to the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset in 2013-14 were: 27

  • Possession of Drugs - 31%
  • Theft and Handling  - 23%
  • Violence against Person - 20%

Re-offending 28  

The aim of ensuring that no more than 80 re-offences are committed per 100 youth offenders after 12 months of receiving a Pre Court or Court disposal was exceeded by Bath and North East Somerset for the period April 2012-March 2013.

For the last rolling quarter of April 2012 – March 2013 in Bath and North East Somerset there were 69 re-offences committed per 100 youth offenders after 12 months of receiving a Pre Court or Court Disposal. This rate is lower than the comparative rates for the South West, with 93 re-offences, and England with 104 re-offences per 100 youth offenders. 

Figure 6: Number of re-offences committed per 100 youth offenders after 12 months of receiving a Pre Court or Court Disposal (Last rolling quarter of April 2012 – March 2013)

Bath and North East Somerset’s new target for the rate of re-offences committed per 100 youth offenders after 12 months of receiving a Pre Court or Court disposal set for 2013-14 is 50. It will require a 27.5% decrease in the rate of re-offending to meet this target

In 2012 (Jan-Dec) there were 182 re-offences perpetrated by 52 youth offenders in Bath and North East Somerset. 29

The overall (binary) re-offending rate for young offenders in 2012 (Jan -Dec) in B&NES was 31%, and 32% in the South West, with an average of 1.07 re-offences per offender in the cohort (frequency rate) in B&NES, and 0.93 in the South West.  30

Use of custody 31 32

The target of ensuring that no more than 0.18 custodial sentences were passed by the Courts, per 1,000 young people in the general population aged 10-17 was not exceeded by Bath and North East Somerset for the period October 2012-September 2013.

For the last rolling 12 month period of October 2012 – September 2013 in Bath and North East Somerset there were 0.13 custodial sentences passed by the Courts, per 1,000 young people in the general population aged 10-17. This rate is lower than the comparative rates for the South West, with 0.29 custodial sentences, and England with 0.50 custodial sentences per 1,000 young people in the general population aged 10-17.

For the period October 2012 – September 2013, there were fewer than 5 custodial sentences passed for young offenders in Bath and North East Somerset.

For the most recent period April -Sept 2014 there were no custodial sentences passed for young offenders in Bath and North East Somerset. 33

Prevention programme 34 35

Between April 2012 and March 2013, 33 youth offenders started on the Youth Offending Service prevention programme in Bath and North East Somerset.

What does the community say?

2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales 36

Public perceptions from the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales emphasise the perceived importance of rehabilitation, alongside a desire generally for more stringent treatment of offenders by the police and courts:

  • Nearly half (48%) of the public surveyed felt that ‘rehabilitation through help and support’ should be the main aim of the Youth Justice System.
  • Around two thirds of people (65%) felt that the police and courts dealt with young offenders too leniently.
  • In 2010/11 there was an increase from the previous year in the proportion who felt that the treatment was ‘about right’ (from 26% to 32%).
  • Well over half of respondents (57%) were confident that youth crime and anti-social behaviour is tackled effectively in their local area .

Views of young people in Bath and North East Somerset 37

As part of continuing work on an integrated pathway for young people at risk of offending, young people have told the Council that boredom and negative attitudes from authority contribute to their offending.

A local Focus Group made up of BME young people aged 11-16 explored experiences within Bath and North East Somerset schools. This highlighted concerns about unfair discipline in schools and that racist bullying was a problem, although most in the group would not feel confident to report this. They also felt that schools did not do enough to help pupils to learn about other cultures and that there is a need for more BME role models within schools (Focus Group report, Chiara Walker, 5.12.09)

The Youth Service asks young people to participate in a regional survey of young people’s involvement in positive activities. This showed high levels of satisfaction with positive activities available and with staff and how services were provided.

Are we meeting the needs?

For a review of the work carried out by the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset in 2011-12 please see the Bath and North East Somerset Youth Justice Plan 2012 – 2013

Youth Crime Prevention Services 38

Bath and North East Somerset benefits from a commissioned independent youth crime prevention project (Mentoring Plus), the Compass Project managed within the Youth Offending Team, and commissioned community restorative work undertaken by the Children’s Society. This increases the ability to match young people’s assessed need with services, and the three targeted projects, together with the specialist substance misuse service, Project 28, and the Black Families Education Project, work closely together to achieve this. These initiatives are supplemented by work within schools, Connexions, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Youth Service and others. 39

This area participated in the national pilot for Youth Restorative Disposals, that begun in April 2008. This enabled Police to address admitted low level crime outside of the formal youth justice setting. This will have contributed to the reduction in first time entrants, as well as benefiting victims. 40

The key Youth Crime Prevention Services in Bath and North East Somerset are:

  • The Children’s Society
  • Project 28
  • Youth Crime Prevention Board
  • Compass
  • Mentoring Plus

The Children’s Society is a national charity working locally to create lasting positive relationships between young people and adults in communities. At a time when adults and young people are sometimes fearful to engage with each other, they work with adults to help to be more positive about young people, by becoming active in their engagement with them. They also work with young people to support their community involvement.

Project 28 is a young people’s drug and alcohol treatment service, based in central bath. They work with young people up to the age of 19 who are resident in Bath & North East Somerset. They provide holistic packages of care for young people who have substance misuse needs. These are:

  • one to one counselling
  • alternative therapies
  • music programme
  • substance prescribing
  • training for partner agencies
  • outreach in Bath City and rural areas

Bath and North East Somerset Youth Crime Prevention Board is an inter-agency forum responsible for co-ordinating youth crime prevention services and developing and delivering the Youth Crime Prevention Strategy. Membership of the Board includes:

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council
  • Police
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Schools
  • Connexions
  • Mentoring Plus
  • Black Families Support Group

Compass in Bath & North East Somerset works with young people aged 8 – 17 who are at risk of offending. They offer six months minimum keywork support to the young person and their parents/carers based on an agreed individual support plan to reduce the risks of offending. Support takes place at home, in school and in the community. They also provide direct support to parents and can also offer parents access to a ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities’ parenting programme.

Mentoring Plus works with young people aged 12 – 17, who are at risk of offending. They offer a year long programme of mentoring and educational/social support. Mentors are volunteers from the community who try to help young people build self-esteem and make positive changes. The project also offers residentials, a holiday programme and a wide range of activities and interest groups aimed at developing practical, social and educational skills.

What can we realistically change?

Bath and North East Somerset Youth Crime Prevention Strategy 41

Through implementation of the 2010 Bath and North East Somerset Youth Crime Prevention Strategy, the Council intends to:

  • further reduce the number of first time entrants to the youth justice system
  • help reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour
  • support young people at risk of offending to follow their own “path to success”

The priorities for youth crime prevention work outlined in the Strategy are:

  • Promote an integrated approach to preventing offending by children and young people
  • Raise awareness across the children’s workforce of the risks of offending and what can be done to reduce those risks
  • Highlight the importance of risk factors in children’s environments and ensure that these inform wider planning that affects children and young people’s lives
  • Increase early identification of individual children at particular risk of offending and ensure a proportionate response, with those at highest risk being supported to access targeted provision, and services being made available to their parents / carers
  • Ensure a clear care pathway that supports young people away from crime and enables them to “make a positive contribution”.
  • Promote evidence-based assessment, planning and intervention within targeted services
  • Analyse local data to identify youth crime hotspots and inform commissioning, allocation of resources and the nature of intervention
  • Influence and support the wider prevention agenda in Bath and North East Somerset, including the Integrated Youth Support agenda as set out in the Supporting Young People Strategy
  • Engage a wide range of stakeholders in this work
  • Support evaluation, mainstream learning and ensure service provision for the future.

For an outline of the work plan for the Youth Offending Services in Bath and North East Somerset for 2012-13 please see the Bath and North East Somerset Youth Justice Plan 2012 – 2013